The Standards Commission is an independent body whose purpose is to encourage high ethical standards in public life through the promotion and enforcement of Codes of Conduct for councillors and those appointed to the boards of devolved public bodies.
- What We Do
- Who We Are
- Standards Commission Meetings
- Audit and Risk Committee
- Who We Cover
- Our Service
- Policies & Procedures
News and Blog
- Health and Social Care IJBs - Standards Officer Appointments
- Survey on the Hearing Process
- Feedback on the Hearings Survey
- Advice Note for Councillors on ALEOs
- Updated Standard Presentation to Elected Members
- New Convener Appointed
- Consultation on the Councillors' Code of Conduct
- How Councils Work - Follow Up Report Nov 2016
- New Member of the Commission - Mr Michael McCormick
- Appointment of New Commission Member
- Updated Standard Presentation to Board Members
- Application of Article 10 of ECHR at Hearings of the Standards Commission
- Consultation on Draft Advice Note on Application of Article 10
- Advice for Councillors on How to Declare Interests
- A Councillor's Responsibilities to the Council as a Member of the Public
- Standards Commission's Regional Roadshows
- Revised Guidance on the Councillors' Code of Conduct
- Advice Note for Councillors on the Application of Article 10 of the ECHR
- Festive Closure
- January 2018 Professional Briefing
- Consultation on draft Advice Note for Councillors on Distinguishing Between Strategic and Operational Management
- Member vacancy
- Administrative Assistant Vacancy
- Flowchart on Making Declarations of Interest
- April 2018 Professional Briefing
- Proposed changes to the Councillors' Code of Conduct
- Standards Commission - BSL Plan
- New Standards Commission Member appointed
- Advice Note for Councillors on Distinguishing between their Strategic Role and any Operational Work
- Health & Social Care Integration Joint Board Members' Workshop 24 Sept 2018
- BSL Video on role of the Standards Commission
- British Sign Language Event reminder
- Response to Committee on Standards in Public Life's Review of Ethical Standards in Local Government in England
- June 2018 Professional Briefing
- Amended Councillors' Code of Conduct
- Amended Guidance on the Councillors' Code of Conduct
- Annual Report 2017/18
- Regional Roadshows on the Councillors' Code of Conduct
- Draft British Sign Language (BSL) Plan - consultation
- Standards Commission - Role and Remit (BSL Video)
- British Sign Language (BSL) Plan
- Sept 2018 Professional Briefing
- Interim Suspensions
- Survey of Members of Devolved Public Bodies
- Standards Commission Member Recruitment
- Standards Update December 2018
- Change of Venue - Regional Roadshow
- Assisting Constituents Card
- Further Analysis of Responses to Survey of Members of Devolved Public Bodies
- New Standards Commission Member appointed
- Hearings Flowchart
- Standards Update March 2019
- Ethical Standards Act Section 19(6) Policy
- Standards Update July 2019
- Appeal Judgement
- Annual Report 2018-19
- Standards Update September 2019
- Interim Suspensions
- Advice Note for Members of IJBs
- Draft Strategic Plan 2020-24
- Standards Update December 2019
- Standards Officers' Workshop
- Suspension Guidance
- Postponement of Standards Officers' workshop on 23 March 2020
- Hearing in Stornoway on 18 March 2020 postponed
- Standards Commission - remote working arrangements
- Standards Update March 2020
- Amended Advice Notes
- Standards Update July 2020
- Standards Commission Hearings
- Advice Note for Public on Councillors’ Code
- Standards Update September 2020
- Scottish Government Consultations on the Councillors' Code of Conduct and the Model Code of Conduct for Members of Devolved Public Bodies
- Direction on the Outcome of Investigations
- Recruitment for a new Convener
- Committee on Standards in Public Life Public (CSPL) Consultation: Standards Matter 2
- Standards Update December 2020
- Business Manager & Caseworker Recruitment
- Appeal Decision
- "You're on Mute!"
- Direction on the Eligibility of Complaints
- BSL video on Councillors' Code of Conduct and Guidance - Advice for Members of the Public
- Pause before you post!
- Standards Update March 2021
- Striking a balance!
- Why Transparency Matters
- Use of Personal Information
All councils and those devolved public bodies listed under Schedule 3 to the Ethical Standards in Public Life etc. (Scotland) Act 2000 (the Act) are obliged to have a Code of Conduct for their elected and appointed members. The Codes of Conduct have a key role in setting out, openly and clearly, the standards of conduct that must be adhered to by those in public office.
The Standards Commission’s vision is to achieve the highest possible ethical standards in public life so that the public in Scotland has confidence in those elected to local councils and those appointed to the board of devolved public bodies.
The Standards Commission promotes awareness of, and adherence to, the Codes of Conduct by providing guidance, support and training to key stakeholders and by maximising engagement opportunities with the public and media.
The Standards Commission is independent of government, political institutions and political parties and as such is able to make impartial decisions, free from any influence, on the enforcement of the Codes of Conduct.
The Standards Commission is aware that there are many instances of exemplary work being undertaken across Scotland and the intention is always to add value rather than duplicate existing work. This involves partnership working, seeking opportunities to share services, and influencing policy development and implementation at national and local level.
The Standards Commission will provide value for money by continually seeking to improve policies and procedures, maintain efficiency and reduce costs.
The Act provided for a framework to encourage and, where necessary enforce, high ethical standards in public life. A later Act established the separate and distinct post of Commissioner of Ethical Standards in Public Life in Scotland (ESC).
In essence, the Act creates a framework whereby local authorities and devolved public bodies are required to adopt Codes of Conduct for their members. Complaints about breaches of these Codes are investigated by the ESC. If the ESC considers there may have been a breach of a Code of Conduct, the ESC will report the matter to the Standards Commission for adjudication.
The Standards Commission's functions as provided for by the 2000 Act are to:
- issue guidance to councils and devolved public bodies to assist them in promoting high standards of conduct;
- Review reports from the ESC on the outcome of their investigations and determine whether to hold a Hearing or to take no action. The Standards Commission can also to direct the ESC to carry out further investigations.
The Standards Commission will hold a Hearing to determine:
- whether a councillor or member of a devolved public body has contravened the Councillors' or the Members' Code of Conduct;
- the sanction to be applied where, following a Hearing, the Panel find that a councillor or member has breached the relevant Code of Conduct.
Who we are
The Standards Commission comprises a Convener and four Commission Members who are appointed by the Parliamentary corporation. The Standards Commission employs three staff, led by an Executive Director. The organisation's current structure can be downloaded as a pdf.
The Scottish Parliamentary Commission and Commissioners etc. Act 2010 provided that with effect from 1 April 2011 the Standards Commission is supported by the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body.
The Standards Commission's Standing Orders outline the arrangements for the discharge of the organisation's functions. They are reviewed biennially.